Pg. 126 Mammoth Mountain’s Backcountry
Sledding and Skiing The Sierras
Thomas Waddell heads out wide from Mammoth Mountain and finds endless terrain and plenty of powder
After the storm passed, and the powder we had been skiing in the resort at Mammoth Mountain had all been tracked out, we were fortunate enough to be able to have easy and quick access to the Sierra backcountry.
Mammoth Resort grooms and maintains trails for sleds and snow shoers to easily access amazing snow and terrain out the back of the resort. My good friend Josh Trosky, a kid who grew up skiing around the Mammoth area, took me out on his snowmobile and showed me some amazing areas where we just skied and had fun. The feeling of skiing big open runs with your friends in the middle of nowhere with no one else around is something that you don’t forget. It starts to get pretty addictive, you end up going day after day and riding home in the dark, freezing cold, but stoked and ready to do it all again the next day.
The areas we skied the most were about a 30 minute ride out from Mammoth. We had a little routine going each time we went out. First we’d do a few warm up runs by shuttling each other to the top and enjoying the fresh snow on the open face runs first thing in the morning. Skiing down in untracked snow, in the middle of nowhere, with your friends riding the sled back down beside you… that’s hard to beat.
After doing this a few times we’d head off exploring to find a good site to build a jump. We ended up finding a perfect wind lip that stretched almost the whole distance of the clearing. Building a decent sized jump is a lot of hard work, and it’s not as fun or as easy as it looks in the movies. About an hour and a half of digging out cubes and placing them on top of each other, and shaping it all together, we were done.
Hitting a jump you have worked on by hand is a really rewarding feeling, especially when you get to lap it with your mates time and time again, all pushing each other to go a little bigger each
THIS IMAGE: Thomas gets things moving with a flat-spin three.
OPPOSITE: TOP: Having your own private sled makes things a lot easier … and faster. BOTTOM: Some times, half the fun is just cruising around hitting little wind lips.